Things to consider when owning a car
- Applying for a driving license
- Renewing your driving license
- Updating your driving license
- Cost of updating driving license
- Regular maintenance
- Insurance and tax
Whether you are a first time driver, looking to purchase a car having used public transport for some time or just want to ensure you have your finances in order, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to owning a car, other than just filling up with fuel.
Applying for a driving license
In order to drive or purchase a car, and even take a test drive at your local dealership, you need to have a valid driving license.
If you are a learner driver, you will need to have a valid provisional license, which allows you to drive a car under the supervision of a driving instructor or a family member over 25 who will be teaching you to drive.
Your driving license has lots of information on it that you might not always know is there, from what vehicles you can drive to how many penalty points you have, as well as your main contact details.
If you have lost your driving license or it is time to renew, you will need to follow the correct process to ensure you receive a new driving license correctly and in good time.
UK driving license renewal
During the pandemic, the government placed an extension onto expired driving licenses, allowing you to hold your expired license for an additional 12 months, but this has since lapsed, so if your driving license has expired, you will need to renew it so you don’t receive a fine.
If your driving license has expired, you will need to renew your license as normal. This can be done easily online, providing that no details such as name or address need updating.
Update details on driving license
If any of your details have changed, it’s important to let the DVLA know so they can update your driving license accordingly.
You can update the following details on your driving license: address, name, gender or photo.
If you change address, it’s important to ensure you let the DVLA know in order to avoid a fine of up to £1,000. You will also need to update your vehicle log book and direct debit details if you pay your vehicle tax monthly. This can be updated easily online to save you time and effort.
Update name or gender
If you have changed your name, either through process of marriage or by changing your name by deed poll, you will need to update your driving license with the new details.
Again, this can be done easily online to save you time.
If the time has come to update the photo on your driving license, you will need to apply for a brand-new driving license.
This will follow the same process as applying for a driving license online.
Cost to update driving license
There may be a cost to update your driving license, depending on what update you need to make:
Updating photo - £14
Updating name - £20
Updating address - £14
If you are over 70 or have a medical short period license, you do not need to pay a fee to update your license.
Regular maintenance is a huge part of owning a car. Even if you buy a brand-new car, there will come a time when you need to take your car in for its first service, MOT and perhaps even have a repair done, no matter how minor.
Keeping your car roadworthy will not only ensure other road users are kept as safe as possible, but it will also help protect your car from major issues that can occur when your car isn’t running to optimum performance.
Ensuring you take your car for its regular services, will mean your car is given a full health check once a year, so your car is as safe as possible and performs as economically and efficiently as possible for you. It will also give you peace of mind that when you make long journeys, you are less likely to break down as your car has been checked by a qualified technician.
MOT’s are a legal requirement so you cannot decide to opt out of having this done annually, but servicing is not a legal requirement.
When you take your car in for its MOT, the trained technicians will run a series of checks on your vehicle to ensure it adheres to legal requirements. This is usually done using a checklist document which will determine whether your vehicle meets these standards or not. If your vehicle does not meet the legal standard, it will fail the MOT test.
If there are areas where you could improve the standards of your vehicle, you will be given an advisory. This could be in relation to tyre tread, windscreen wipers or brake pads and it will give you time to sort these before they become issues during your next MOT test.
Whilst servicing is not a legal requirement, it’s recommended you book your car in for a service at least once per year to ensure your car is running smoothly and there are no potential problems that could exacerbate into bigger issues.
There are usually three tiers of servicing which determine what level of checks are made to your vehicle. These include interim, full and major, with the full service due every year and the major service due every 2 years.
Insurance and Tax
Having valid vehicle insurance is a legal requirement, as is taxing your vehicle and you can receive a hefty fine if you are caught and can’t show the valid documents.
The cost of your insurance premium will depend on a combination of your vehicle specification and your own personal details, such as age and length of time you have held a driving license.
You will usually have the option to pay your insurance in full or a monthly repayment which will have any interest added to it.
If you are a new driver or younger, you will find your insurance premium is more expensive than it would be if you had several years of driving experience and/or no claims bonus.
You are required to tax your car, even if you don’t have to pay for your car tax (if you have a low emissions vehicle for example).
You can tax your vehicle online quickly and easily, taking only a few minutes. You will then receive confirmation by email which you can keep for your records.
You will receive a letter through the post just before your car tax is due to expire which will contain a unique code that you can enter on the website when the time comes.
These are some of the main considerations when it comes to owning a car and ones that are focused on the safety and legal restrictions of keeping your car on the road.